River Region Ballet director receives honor as new ‘Point of Light’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Staff Reporter

DESTREHAN – Point of Light, a volunteer center national network, has recognized a local woman for her outstanding contribution to dance in the River Region.

Susan Ferrara, artistic director for River Region Ballet Company of 10 years, received the Daily Point of Light Award, which acknowledges individuals and volunteer groups who have made a commitment to connect Americans through service and help meet critical needs for youth in their respective communities.

The award, one of which is presented every weekday throughout the year, honored Ferrara on April 21.

According to the Point of Life Foundation, Ferrara spends hundreds of hours planning each event for the company, and produces two major productions each year.

The company’s last production was “The Sleeping Beauty,” performed earlier this month at Destrehan High School.

Along with the choreography of the show, Ferrara also actively oversees the costuming and set design.

“I was very touched and surprised that someone would nominate me,” Ferrara said in response to receiving the award, which she was not previously aware of.

She said that she was just a lucky one out of many that happened to get recognized, but many other people deserve that same honor.

“A lot of people do a lot of things, and not everyone knows this honor exists,” Ferrara said, “I didn’t know, but it was nice that someone else did.”

Ferrara said that she “just sort of fell into” what she is doing, but quickly understood it was something she would continue for a long time.

“You realize the kids want it, and the parents are excited about it, and you are appreciated” she said, “You’d let people down if you didn’t do it.”

Ferrara feels an important aspect of teaching ballet is bringing in guests artists to do the leads in the productions so the kids will learn from them.

She makes an extra effort to hire professionals who are originally from here, feeling that if the kids work with a professional who grew up and trained in the area, it helps put things in perspective in terms of lifelong goals.

The River Region Ballet Company holds an annual production of “The Nutcracker,” along with its spring performance. The troupe is for dancers between the ages of 10 and 20.

Ferrara is also the owner of Images Dance Studio in Destrehan.

Past winners of the Daily Point of Light Award have been Dr. Carol Christopher of Monroe, Friends of Jefferson the Beautiful of Jefferson Parish, and the Dunckelman Family of Houma, as well as many others from the state.